(Image credit: press)

Our more avid readers know that in Wallpaper* we’ve a soft spot for dramatic sculptural concrete and great architecture, so when we saw the Tenerife School of Dramatic Arts we knew it would be ideal for our next special production of fashion and architecture, our ‘Shadow Lands’ story for W*120.


(Image credit: press)

The building, designed by local firm GPY Arquitectos, enjoys distinct sculptural qualities as well as functional ones; the architects aimed to create a link between the land and the body - every actor’s main tool. The built result, situated among more academic buildings – the Faculty of Fine Arts and the Music Conservatory are nearby – definitely stands out.

The design makes the most out of its steep hillside location. The architects placed all the main uses below street level, while the building’s roof follows the angle of the slope. Working with simple, basic materials - raw concrete and dark IPE hardwood – the architects’ moulded deep three-dimensional forms, like the main patio’s ceiling, created from the roof’s folding.

The closed central patio is defined by a building on each side; a reinforced concrete one, including teaching areas, reception and storage rooms; and a wooden-clad one, which houses the school’s administration and library. The sides are connected with the building’s system of ramps, zigzagging down to the patio, from the street level.

The building’s strong flowing form represents an active urban stage, using as backdrop the whole of the city of Santa Cruz. In fact, cleverly-used, the semi-open central courtyard often acts as the main performance space and an open-air auditorium, so the actors would be performing in front of a real background of sea, sky and mountains, instead of an enclosed space. Of course any other space in the building, from the classrooms, to the storage, teachers and students’ areas, can potentially be used for performances, with of course the additional dedicated rehearsal spaces spread across the school, all fitted with the necessary equipment.

Our creative pairing of hard geometric architecture and glamorous fashion could not happen in a more expressive and theatrical space. The School of Dramatic Arts created the ideal setting for our ‘Shadow Lands’ fashion story, showcasing this season’s graphic trends and shapes underlined by a dynamic light and shade relationship.


GPY Arquitectos

 C/Castillo 56
E-38003 Santa Cruz de Tenerife


Ellie Stathaki is the Architecture & Environment Director at Wallpaper*. She trained as an architect at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece and studied architectural history at the Bartlett in London. Now an established journalist, she has been a member of the Wallpaper* team since 2006, visiting buildings across the globe and interviewing leading architects such as Tadao Ando and Rem Koolhaas. Ellie has also taken part in judging panels, moderated events, curated shows and contributed in books, such as The Contemporary House (Thames & Hudson, 2018), Glenn Sestig Architecture Diary (2020) and House London (2022).